Friday, April 17, 2009

You Can't Take Irishmen Anywhere

Rewind to Plough and Stars last Sunday...

So we were enjoying the music, Craig was enjoying his pint of properly poured Guinness. As Craig got up to order another pint at the bar, he got to talking to a dude from Dundalk which is STAUNCH Republican and an IRA stronghold. Duldalk is just across the border from Northern Ireland. Craig comes back and says that he's a sound guy. Craig tells me that he asked where he was from. Of course, Craig said Belfast. Dundalk further probes and asks where in Belfast. Craig said the Shankill. (Innocent enough but proved to be a big mistake later in the night). Dundalk then asks, "So you're a Prod then?". Craig didn't take this to offense and says, "Yes, but my family was never into the Protestant vs. Catholic bullshit." Dundalk agrees and says it's all a bunch of nonsense. A few minutes later he joins us at the table and I agree he was a sound guy at first, a little drunk though but that's Irish for ya nothing out of the ordinary. He bought us a round of drinks. Craig and Dundalk got to chatting and reminiscing about old haunts in Belfast.

Now the next thing that happened, I have no idea how it all ensued because I was engrossed in the music. But later in the night, things got nasty. By the end of their hours long conversation, I could feel the tension and was getting a little worried that a brawl was going to take place. All I know is Craig got frustrated so he got up to go to the bathroom and the Dundalk guy followed. My heart was beating fast and I was worried. Craig comes out of the bathroom and says let's get the fuck out of here. Confused but didn't ask questions, I just followed him out of there. He says, "We're never going in there again. As a matter for fact, it's best that we stay away from any Irish pubs or any Irish while I am visiting here!". Here I am waiting for a taxi at 2am thinking, "What the duck happened?".

Any further commentary or recollection would be heresay on my part so here is an email of Craig's side of the story to one of his peeps back home:

We went back to that Irish bar the next night because there was some traditional live music Maddy wanted to hear. The night started of great and ended with me punching a fella in the toilet.

This man with a southern Irish accent was sitting at the bar and when I was up getting a drink we had a quick chat. He was fairly drunk at that stage. Half and hour later he comes and sits with us and it's all good. Says he's from Dundalk and has lived in San Francisco since 1990 and owns his own construction company which he gives me his business card for. I'm thinkin, this dude might come in handy. He goes on to tell us he spent a lot of time in Belfast and even on the Shankill years ago. He made a quick remark about serving some prison time but didn't say why and I didn't ask. So he's just talkin away about Ireland and how he doesn't give a shut about religion and the usual shit. He bought us a drink and we bought him a drink and so on. He was repeating himself quite a bit but sure that's drunk people for ya. So then he asks me something about Ian Paisley and I didn't really understand the question so I asked him to repeat the question. He asked me again 3 times and I still couldn't quite understand exactly what he was asking because the question didn't make sense. So I said, sorry mate I don't understand what you mean and he came out with, "so you think it's alright that I was interned and put in prison for 10 years for no reason?" he then went off on a rant about being put in prison for nothing and how he couldn't believe I said what I said (I actually didn't say anything).

He was getting more and more nasty the longer he went on and Maddy is looking at me all worried like what da duck is happening here. So I got up and went to the toilet to let him chill out a bit. I'm takin a piss when the door opens and in he walks and grabs my shoulder. So I turned around and clubbed him and he went flyin into a cubical. I went out and grab Maddy and my jacket and leg it up the I think he's full of shit. I seriously doubt someone with a 10 year prison sentence on their record would we allowed to go live in America. Probably just his line of Irish bullshit for the yanks.


Response from his peep in Norn Iron:

Hi Craig,

The chap you punched would have to be atleast 10-12 years older than myself to have ever been interned. Operation Demetrius was an out right failure since the army had practised the operation one week before and thus the PIRA had caught on and moved across the border. It was the official IRA, a socialist grouping who were rounded up along with well known loyalists. The vast amount of internees were released after 2 years as it became obvious they were not a threat to the government in northern ireland. Internment did however become a badge of honour among republicans.

A better question would have been what he thought of the american internment camps set up to imprison the japanese who lived in america after the bombing of pearl harbour in 1942. It is of some interest to note that the internment act has never been revoked and can be invoked during times of civil unrest.

I can't believe this bullshit has followed us on our holiday. My god, we're 5,386 miles away! I've lived in Norn Iron short enough to get the good sense to never take any Troubles story that is spoonfed to you at face value because there are two sides to every story and every story is not necessarily true without deeper investigation of THE FACTS. So who is to be believed?

As a yank, I will never get it. EVER. But what the hell do I know? Just because I've read a few textbooks doesn't make me an expert. And pretending to be one will just make me look like a patronizing idiot. Craig, like many other of my friends in Belfast both Catholic and Protestant who come from a younger generation, just don't give a damn! They don't want to hear about it. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to think about it. They just want to get on with their lives like everybody else in the world as I keep saying over and over to people who ask me about Belfast. Their eye is on the future, not the past.


Anonymous said...

He punches a guy sending him flying into a cubical because the guy had grabbed his shoulder?! Yes, that guy was drunk and obnoxious like most drunks but to punch him because he only grabbed his shoulder? I am sorry but that isn't right and your man has some serious problems. I am amazed that you would even post something like this, I would be really ashamed if my husband had acted cowardly like that.

Flippin' Yank said...

He was merely defending himself. Do you think the grab on the shoulder was a friendly gesture? If you think so you've got to be kidding. The man was trying to start a fight. If some stranger tried to corner me in the bathroom grabbed me on the shoulder while I was doing my business (my fiance failed to mention in his email the guy pulled my fiance back so hard that he almost lost his balance), I would do the same thing. What would you have done? Talk things out? Inebriated people are not RATIONAL and do not listen to reason. Get real!

Yes the guy was drunk but violence can escalate quickly with drunk people and especially when people are worked up about The Troubles. Do you even know about the history of The Troubles? Obviously, you don't since you make rash judgements like yours.

The man wasn't stumbling drunk and was capable of hurting someone. It is best to nip it in the bud like my fiance did before it gets worse. No, I'm not ashamed at all. I think he did the right thing given the circumstance.

Me thinks you are a troll.

Grasshopper said...

Even when drunk, a person still has
concept of what actions they are taking. IMO if you get drunk and violent, you deserve what you've got coming to you. It might be best to knock the guy out so he doesn't do something crazy. Your man did right.

Anonymous said...


Ok. Point 1. A guy walks into a gents toilets and grabs another guy by the shoulder in a threatening manner while he's taking a piss. Most men would be pretty annoyed at that alone.
Point 2. Same scenario as above, only the 2 men have only moments earlier had an in your face and nasty confrontation over quite a serious subject where they both come from.
Point 3. This guy basically just admitted he is IRA. He knows I'm a Protestant from Northern Ireland. As far as the IRA are concerned, that is enough of a reason to kill me. That's right, 'kill' me.
I'm gonna stick my neck out here and assume you weren't born and don't live in Northern Ireland and have absolutely no understanding of life there. People have been found dead in trash dumpsters for a lot less I can assure you.
You seem to live in a lovely little world were everyone is so nice. I don't have the fortune of living in that world.
If a man followed your husband into the Gents, came up behind him while he was urinating and grabbed him by the shoulder and he doesn't react. All I can say is it sounds to me like your husband is used to men touching him in the Gents.

oneofthebhoys said...

i would have pissed on his shoes,
knee him in the nuts, karate chop him in the adam's apple, drown him in the commode, plant him facedown in the trash can.

Anonymous said...


I'm not a man so I don't know the rules about pissing in public but I'm pretty sure one of the rules is to not touch one another while pissing. I could see how that might be a gut reaction.

Anonymous said...

By definition a stranger grabbing me by the shoulder while my pants are undone is threatening.